Student teams pitch at the CAREC startup challenge demo day

30 June, 2022


“The challenge was a great initiative and opportunity for those who want to showcase their ideas and startup work”, – highlighted one of the finalists of the CAREC (The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) University Startup Generator challenge on the ‘Virtual Demo Day’, a final session of the challenge.

The challenge ran from 1st May to 14th June, and more than 100 students belonging to 70+ universities of the CAREC member states participated in the challenge. Top three teams received certificates and got a prize reward of up to $400 per team.  

Prior to the Demo Day, the challenge featured webinars, discussions, and mentoring sessions for students by leading startup experts from Silicon Valley, discussing real startup experiences and providing feedback on their ideas.   

“We are grateful to the organizers of the CAREC University Startup Generator competition for the opportunity to learn new skills in startups and show our leadership qualities and critical thinking. Now we know a lot about business and market analysis and are already applying our knowledge into practice,” – noted the gender diverse “ECOHA” team. 

ECOHA”, a team from Kazakhstan, won the award for the startup which reduces the amount of litter on any city street and increases the cleanliness, discipline of people and rewards them for their work. 

During the final stage of the challenge, three finalists pitched their startup ideas to an expert jury, which consisted of Kyungjin Hyung (CEO, BlissVine Ventures), Yichu Zhang (ADB Ventures), and Arndt Husar (Digital Technology for Development Unit, ADB). The finalists also answered questions from the jury members and received feedback to help them progress their ideas into the real world. 

“Feedback from the jury was really informative and helpful. I appreciate that they could see the possible big future for my startup. Overall, it was a really good experience and I hope to stay in touch with your [the participants and CAREC] team in the future”, – said a team “Virtual Story” from Georgia.  

Virtual story” is a woman led team from Georgia that presents a project of a hybrid of books and computer games based on various literary masterpieces, which make the reading process fun and interesting with audio-visual elements.   

“What I mastered through this challenge was the art of time management and critical thinking. As a student and creative member of a charity organization, it was really hard for me to manage my time and come up with brainstorming ideas initially. But I decided to look at this challenge as a ladder of success and not to lose hope and rather learn something with every moving step. Even though, we faced a lot of problems as a Team but that is what all the hustle is about. And I guess this hustle was worth the bustle. Hoping to participate in such great opportunities again, in the near future”, – concluded one of the participants of the joint team from Kazakhstan and Pakistan.  

The CAREC University Startup Generator Challenge was held as part of the CAREC Digital Strategy 2030 implementation which aims to promote startup ecosystem and innovation in the CAREC region.